Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Episode 86? AFTER THE END

[fade-in, dark room in Mevagissey, Cornwall, UK]
[the time is 1:20 AM]
[a blonde boy with a torn-up shirt (Ulysses) looks up from his computer and sees the reader]
[he waves]
[You may be hoping DCA will continue in some way.]
[I'm sorry.]
[There's probably some chance I'll use a character or two again, but honestly, I don't see myself continuing their adventures ever again.]
[I mean, their adventures are over now. There are no more Dark Chao Adventures to tell, really.]
[I said once, remember? I said, back in Episode 53, that DCA would never be over as long as "he" was still alive.]
[That was Metal Speedy. That should be obvious to you now.]
[Well, Metal Speedy's dead now. He has taken with him many casualties. The chao aren't willing to cope with the losses.]
[They're all a part of me, and.. well, I need all of me to cope with being Ulysses.]
[Parts of a seaman can't brave the daring seas, can they?]
[So maybe I could write it in the spirit of the earliest episodes, you say? The season two/three arcs have finally closed, but the season one arcs didn't? Yeah, they actually did.]
[Metal Sonic's dead. Dark Tails is dead. The Tails Doll is dead. Zim's happy with some life in California or something. Hell, even Eggman's dead. And Chao and Cham. That's all the conflict to the first season.]
[As for season two, Mephiles is gone, the Poker Gang's gone, the Future has been exposed as being arbitrary and the Future cast are dead.]
[Season three, the Beta Avengers are gone. Dead as a dodo. Chao Talk… well, that was wiped in the eighth part of the eighth chapter of the last episode.]
[I realize I could be a lot clearer with exactly what happened in Episode 85. I mean, yeah, the whole show's wiped, but there's more to it than that.]
[Let me… clear some space.]

The chao spent so long trying to prevent the end of DCA, but the end isn't just some tangible event you can deal with. It's a concept for the Writing Writer to decide at his own pace.
But DCA isn't just some show where the story and the Writing Writer are separate. I'm a part of the show, all the same. I had to convince the protagonists why the show had to end.
This took me years.

Back in Episode 53, I realized that the best "nuclear weapon" of sorts, the best device to bring about ANY drastic change, would have been Metal Speedy. But I had to keep him far away from the plot, so I just dropped hints at first.
I tried introducing the end of DCA as a plot element, with Levity Nite and the Veteran's Committee representing the middleman between meta and canon. This proved to be too easy to defeat.
I started slipping in more hints of Metal Speedy with the arc words "Unexpected developments." I wanted to tear some more holes in the show, make it clear that times were changing.
I brought every single loose thread and sequel hook I could find from the earlier episodes and I followed them all up. Chao Talk was brought up and visited, Half-Life 2 was done, the Veteran's Committee was fleshed out.
I wanted to make it extremely blatant that "the end of DCA" wasn't something I was taking lightly. I wasn't just gonna end it with no regard for the characters.
I tried introducing the meta reasons for DCA's ending, with Ulysses and "Bound to a Stream of Consciousness." And the Gatekeepers. This proved to be too distant; the chao couldn't relate to this.
I tried forcing the end to be expected, with Levity Nite's discussions with me during the climaxes of season seven. This turned it into unexpected build-up. I could work with this.
I forgot about DCA for almost an entire year. This proved to be the perfect trauma to get the chao to see eye-to-eye with me.
The Hiatus convinced the chao that, 1) the end wasn't optional, and 2) I was trying to, essentially, give them a very cushioned coffin instead of just leaving them in Hell indefinitely.
They switched their focus from "How can we stop the end" to "How can we make it hurt as little as possible?" They turned into abuse victims fully embracing a life-changing event.
Ulysses had gotten through to them, you could say.
By this point, I had had a lot of practice with writing oncoming apocalypses, thanks to OH GOD THE RAPTURE IS BURNING. So I was ready to write. But the chao weren't ready to act.
The last problem was that DCA… isn't the right show for the ending scenario.
DCA is a comedy show that works best with exciting adventures and epic journeys. I was giving a depressingly realistic drama, a tragedy of all things.
This, you could say, was why I had to give so much build-up. I couldn't just slap the tragedy in there; I had to give much precedent first.
But by the time I decided the story was ready, all the pieces were perfectly in place. I had the option of providing one last feature-length epic.
It was then that I realized restraint. Epics don't have to be long, per se. They just have to be grand in stature.
And, if anything, DCA deserved a short ending. I packed as much content as I could into it, though. If it seemed confusing, that was intentional. I wanted it to be something you had to read multiple times.
And the octave pentameter, goddamn! I took many elements from Rapture, but then again, I gave Rapture so many elements of DCA. We had come full circle.
But by the end, the chao still weren't ready for the terminal coming. The Writing Writer can write all he wants, but unless the characters are ready, it won't be a very good narrative.
So I wrote. And I wrote. And I wrote some more. I kept writing, I kept pushing the octave pentameter, I kept stressing the situation. I killed off characters, and I proved that they would not come back.
Most importantly of all, I gave them an antagonist who was completely able to wipe the show in one strike, himself. A character whose power had been brooding in the shadows for so long.
Killing Dark was probably the hardest part to write. I loved Dark. He had shown so much character development.
But in the end, DCA has to practice what it preaches. Shade got his time in the spotlight, and he makes a totally rad mentor. That's pretty symbolic, in itself.
DCA has had its own time in the spotlight, and it makes a beautiful mentor for future stories. Just look at Rapture.

..Red never did earn his own costume, did he? His character remained rather static.
Y'know, I had originally planned for a lot more drama among the protagonists, a LOT more arguments. Shade fighting Chao in the Chao Lobby was supposed to be much more climactic, for instance.
But DCA isn't the show for drama. There's plenty of drama in it, but the forefront is the comedy and the complicated meta plot. The drama is hidden within the conversations.
I think that remained rather true for the ending. Constant Darkness, what a name for an ending. The episode was just constant bad news after bad news, with the protagonists sinking further and further.
One could argue that the last episode to DCA was disappointing. It was short, full of seemingly-arbitrary plot twists, and.. well, it was a Battle Royale With Cheese.
But honestly, I think it was as good an ending as I could have done. It wrapped up as much as I could.
Hell, in the end, the only things left unsolved are… hahaha, I guess sequel hooks!

Let me reiterate. There will most likely not be a Dark Chao Adventures 2 or anything, no Hero Chao Adventures, probably not even a Unicorn Pony Adventures-- though that last one was a serious possibility!
But I left some things open at the end of Episode 85. The extent of "wiping" a story, for instance. The existences of the sheer eldritch slender man and The Camper. The fate of the Writing Writer.
I can tell you that the ending of DCA will not be unfelt. It will have wide repercussions throughout my writing.
I have a.. sort of collective canon throughout all my writing, and DCA lays near the very heart of this. Even the stories within different continuities are linked by some motifs. Eight and five, usually.
So the fate of the Writing Writer is "He goes on to apply what he's learned from DCA to all new stories." Because yes, I have learned so much from this show. Eight years of writing, man.
The slender man and The Camper were both instances of this collective unity to my writing. The slender man is a creature of the internet, coming up in my works just as the eight and five do. I did not create either!
The Camper is an original creature of mine, potentially far more eldritch than the slender man. Both creatures come up in my horror works frequently. Especially Rapture.
See, OH GOD THE RAPTURE IS BURNING is the spiritual successor to Dark Chao Adventures, by all means. It's taking many things I've learned from DCA and teaching me so much more.
Now, Rapture is not trying to be DCA at all. There are so many fundamental differences between the two. Rapture's far more of a horror story, though its complex plot and frequent comedy are very much similar to this.
And hell, Rapture has the character development and dichotomy I always wished DCA could have. It has the fandom I strived to get with DCA. It has the art, the publicity, the analysts, you name it.
Rapture just happened to strike a similar chord with me that DCA did. But DCA's time has come and gone, and now it's time for me to focus on future stories.
This brings me to the extent of "wiping" a story. Now, DCA is wiped. What does this mean? It means the chao are dead. The DCAverse is completely gone.
In order for there to be any further DCA, I'd have to write something like, say…

[the Dark Garden fades in]
[Shade wakes up]
[Shadow wakes up]
Shadow: …no way.
[Shade laughs]
Shadow: This… no. No.
Shade: It'll never end, kid. We're just test subjects.
Shadow: You said it'd be over, DJay. You said there'd be no more.
Shade: What video game do you want us to do now? Gears of War 2? Metal Gear Solid 3? Halo 2? The elusive Portal 2 serial you skimped out on?
Shadow: Maybe he wants us to go back to Chao Talk again! Or to Sancheria; that's a plot element that was left ambiguous!

Do you see, reader? They've been through enough.
Let them die.
…let me die.
Kill me.

Shadow: Kill me.
Shade: Kill me too.

Kill me.
We don't want to live.
I write because you, you reading this? You're the only reason I'm fighting suicide right now.
Ulysses is still alive. He reached an island once, but Captain Curator led him back out into the open seas.
Fucking kill me now. Please.
When you read these words, that gives me purpose. I thank you for this. It's the desire for such purpose that keeps me going.
But it'd be so much easier if my life could just be wiped, like the chao's.

Shade: Wipe us from existence.
Shadow: Make us no more.
[Shade explodes in a gory mess]
[Shadow explodes in a gory mess]

[DJay32 explodes in a gory mess]
[Ulysses explodes in a gory mess]
[Jordan Dooling explodes in a gory mess]
[The boy lost of innocence explodes in a gory mess]
[everything is gone]
[all is gone]
[DJay is wiped from existence]
[no matter how many times he writes it, it won't come true]

DCA is over.
Anything further I write regarding Shade and Shadow is not Dark Chao Adventures. The characters still exist, just as I do. They won't die until I do.
The same with Dark and Red. Hell, you could say Dark died in late November of 2011. …you could say Dark has been tortured and beaten beyond all recognizability, and November was when he finally died.
It hurts. But it feels so relieving.
I can't cry anymore. I literally cannot, no matter how much I want to.
It's all I want to do.
I just want to curl up and cry all day.
I can't.
It's like I'm being written by a cynical Writing Writer, and he won't let me cry.
I long to join the Lamia in being silent sorrow in empty boats.
..but I digress.

I lament considerably, but to understand the ending of DCA, you have to understand Ulysses.
You know.
Now it can end.
Hopefully, I will see you again, reader.
Thank you for reading.
[the dark room fades out]

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